UST Dept. of Philosophy, University of Macau co-host online forum on relevance of critical theory

The UST Department of Philosophy and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of the University of Macau (UM) co-hosted an online forum with the theme “The crisis of critical theory?  Critical theory from and beyond the margins,” held recently via Zoom.  The online forum was convened by UST’s Prof. Paolo A. Bolaños, Ph.D., and MU’s Prof. Mario Wenning, Ph.D.

The theme of the forum centered on the relevance of critical theory beyond its place of origin.  Critical theory is a philosophical movement associated with the Frankfurt School that began in the 1930s in Germany; the movement’s aim was to critically assess the social and political pathologies of the time inspired by insights from Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, as well as ideas from sociology, political theory, economics, and psychology.  

Throughout the decades since its inception, critical theory has asserted the role as a vanguard of protecting the interests of the oppressed, the pursuit of justice, and the abolition of domination and alienation in society.  The forum participants tackled whether the critical theory has anything to contribute outside the Western-European context, exploring the possibility of expanding its scope by drawing on critical perspectives on modern societies and emancipation movements that have originated in Asia.

A total of eight papers, with diverse topics tackling the main theme, were featured in the forum and were presented by representatives from UST and UM: “Critical Theory at the Margins” by Paolo A. Bolaños (UST), “Filial Piety vs. Critique of Blood Vengeance” by Lee Tingmien (UM), “Critical Theory and Tradition” by Jovito V. Cariño (UST), “Profile Politics: A Critique of the ‘White Left’ (bai zuo 白左 )” by Hans-Georg Moeller (UM), “Critical Theory and Recognition” by Roland Theuas Pada (UST), “Critical Theory and Revolution” by Raniel Reyes (UST), “Critical Perspectives on National and Civilizational Identities: Solidarity and Enthusiasm” by Daniel Sarafinas (UM), and “Free Fall: A Hegelian Critique of the Gambling Rabble” by Mario Wenning (UM).

The online forum was attended by around 140 participants from around the globe, and the sessions were moderated by UST Department of Philosophy faculty members Christine Tan, Ranier Abengaña, and Anton Rennesland.   

“The crisis of critical theory? Critical theory from and beyond the margins” was initiated as part of the formal academic partnership between UST’s Department of Philosophy and UM’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.  It was made possible through the support of UM’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and UST’s Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Graduate School.

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